Weatherford Democrat

October 22, 2012

Election 2012 — Alcohol, ESD issues on local ballots

Christin Coyne

PARKER COUNTY — The following issues will be on local ballots for Parker County residents in the Nov. 6 general election. Early voting starts today.

Alcohol sales

A local option election for the sale of beer and wine in Precinct 2, the northwest portion of Parker County, is scheduled for Nov. 6.

If approved by voters, the measure would legalize the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

Several convenience stores, including Salt Creek Grocery and Grill, Peaster Grocery and Grill and Poolville One Stop, collected more than 2,000 signatures to place the issue on the ballot.

The managers of the convenience stores in the area said they get customers every day looking to purchase beer or wine but have to send them down the road to Springtown or Weatherford, where the sale of alcohol has already been legalized.

Most of Precinct 1 became wet after a similar election in the northeast part of the county last November.

ESD creation

The creation of ESD No. 8, which would include the areas in northwest Parker County served by Adell-Whitt and Central Community VFDs, will be on the Nov. 6 ballot, as well.

If ESD No. 8 is approved by voters in the Nov. 6 election, the district could levy a tax of up to 10 cents per $100 valuation — or $100 in taxes for a $100,000 house — to pay for fire and emergency services protection for the area.

Members of both fire departments have pushed for the measure, citing a need for a consistent, dependable funding source that will grow with the area.

About half the departments’ budgets are funded by donations and fund raisers while county funding covers the other half, according fire officials.

Grants have been the only way the departments can afford to purchase new equipment, such as brush trucks or engines, fire chiefs say.

Providing emergency medical response, which requires training and equipment and is expected to approximately double call volume, is also a goal for the fire departments.

ESD annexation

Residents in unincorporated areas served by Millsap VFD, as well as voters currently located in ESD No. 7, will be voting on whether or not to add the Millsap area to ESD No. 7.

Voters in both areas must support the measure for the annexation to occur. If approved, ESD No. 7 would become responsible for ensuring fire and emergency medical response to the Millsap area and could levy a tax of up to 10 cents per $100 valuation. The ESD No. 7 tax rate is currently set at 8.5 cents per $100 valuation.

The area stretches roughly from Greenwood fire district, along Interstate 20, the west Parker County line and along U.S. Highway 180.

Areas located within the city limits of Millsap, Cool and Mineral Wells are not included.

Fire and ESD officials say Millsap VFD would continue to provide fire coverage for the area if annexed but would have a consistent revenue source to maintain operations and provide for future growth.

Emergency medical response for the Millsap area is also something fire officials say they hope to provide if voters approve annexation.

Greenwood VFD provides first responder service to the current ESD No. 7 area, making up about half of the fire district’s calls.